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tv   Hearing Focuses on Visa Security  CSPAN  May 5, 2017 8:00pm-9:32pm EDT

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tonight on c-span 3 a hearing on how the u.s. reviews visa applications to prevent terrorists from entering the country. the supreme court hears oral argument in a case about an immigrant from bosnia who was challenging the cancellation of her citizenship for lying on her application. then the senate confirmation hearing for ambassador to china nominee terry branstad. and the brookings institution host a discussion about child poverty programs. a bipartisan task force made up from members of the homeland security committee looked at the u.s. visa system and how to make it more secure by preventing criminals and terrorists from gaining entry. at this task force meeting, members heard from border protection and immigration officials. this is 90 minutes.
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the committee on homeland security task force on denying terry entry into the united states will come to order. we're examining the security of the visa process and waiver program and i recognize myself for an opening statement. i want to start by welcoming back our expert witnesses to the capital and thank him for being here doing double duty for joining us yesterday for a classified hearing. >> i look forward to following up on some of the broader themes of the briefing. in order to inform the american people of the security of the visa pro ves says and the visa waiver program. i want to thank chairman mccaul and ranking member thompson for prioritizing this task force and its mission. last congress this committee's task task force was not only successful in producing legislative change, but also eye opening in what it revealed. the work done by members and staff on both sides of the aisle
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under chairman katko's leadership raised awareness about gaps in screening both at home and with our foreign partners which led to positive reforms for protecting the homeland against terrorists and foreign fighters. this includes the visa waiver program improvement and terrorist travel prevention act that enacted major vwp reforms in 2015. i hope that this task force will be as successful in its investigation and in its final recommendations. i also look order in to working with ms. watson coleman from new jersey and all the members on both sides to ensure that it is a success. and i thank you for the time that you've spend spent and i really am looking order in to this. >> in is a critical time for our nation's security. the previous task force rightly focused on the tens of thousands of jihad dift fighters traveling from the west to join the fight in iraq and syria. now we see that number dropping as these fighters seek to expand their actions beyond rark and
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syria. and while coalition forces expand, the threat against the west continues to rise as the fighters leave so the called caliphate. as fbi director comey said this past september, through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of very, very dangerous people. there will be a terrorist as sper ra sometimes in the next two years that we've never seen before. just last week it was reported that two british nationals were detained by turkish border police after spending over two years in isis territory. with hundreds of american fighters and thousands of european fighters seeking to return to their home countries armed with lawful passports, terrorist training and jihadists connections, we must be able to prevent them from gaining entry into the united states by abusing our immigration system. isis has planned, conducted or inspired more than 180 plots against the west, including the 2017 attacks in paris and the
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2016 attacks be in brussels, niece, and berlin. the majority of these attackser were european citizens with valid passports so it's easy to imagine any one of them gaining access to the country through a valid visa or through the visa waiver program. and as secretary kelly recently said, the u.s. is the prime terrorist target, especially since so many of these fighters are citizens of vwp countries. but that's why we're here today, to ensure our defenses strong and protect the homeland as it continues to be targeted. while there are numerous benefits to our country that stem from our welcoming immigration system like tourism, trade an business, we should never look at our process lou the lens of a terrorist. we must always strive to stay one step ahead. that's what we learned in the wake of september 11th where all of the attackers entered the u.s. through legal means. this of course prompted an overhaul of our immigration and
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transportation security systems as well as the creation of our department of homeland security. but our work is not yet done. we still have a lot to learn and a lot to adapt to. despite the reforms undertaken in the wake of snooin/11 there are still gaps and weaknesses in our system. raising questions about the level of scrutiny given to visa applications. there are also remaining gaps in vetting and screening of vwp applicants and be in information sharing with other countries which are both vital in the fielt against terrorists. i look forward to hearing from our expert witnesses about the department of homeland security are doing to ensure that visa and vwp applicants are receiving sufficient vetting before they're allowed to enter this country. i i thank them for being here as well as the many men and women who serve our nation both at dhs and the state department. and with that the chair now recognizing the ranking member
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ms. watson coleman for any statement she may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i'm delighted to n here and share this very important task with you. i look order in to working with you. i am pleased to join in holding today's hearings on denying terrorists entry into the united states. i welcome the opportunity to work with you and our colleagues on the task force to examine how the federal government can continue to strengthen our nation's security and do so in a way that upholds our american values. since the terrorist attacks of september the 11th, 2001, congress has established a department of homeland security and directed the implementation of significant and wide-ranging new programs and pom sies to help prevent terrorist travel to this country. for example, u.s. immigration and customs enforcement has deployed visa security units to our embassies and consul lates overseas supporting the state department in vetting visa
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applicants. u.s. customs and border protection now utilizes the electronic system for travel authorization to screen visa waiver program travelers before they are permitted to board a plane into the u.s. these agencies now also conduct recurrent vetting of all visa andesta holders to check against any new der regularer to information. these are just a few examples of the security initiatives that have been implemented in the aftermath of 9/11 and on ongoing basis as other potential vulnerabilities have been identified. of course more work remains to be done to assure we continue to stay ahead of those who might seek to do us harm. that work must be done on a bipartisan basis. in the interest of all americans and in keeping with our principles as a nation of immigrants. using rhetoric that divides us and alien nates our foreign partners is counterproductive to the security of the united
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states. banning certain groups of people from entering this country based on their faith, whether explicitly or implicitly is unconstitutional. playing on people's fears and prejudices for political gain is just down right unamerican. as a country, we can do better and i hope that on this task force we will do better. america is always at its strongest when we stand together in support of our common good and our shared values. i appreciated hearing from our government witnesses yesterday in the classified setting about the good work the departments of homeland security and state are doing to further enhance our security. i hope to hear from these witnesses today about what more can be done to identify and thwart attempted terrorist travel on an individualized basis and how congress can support their efforts. i also hope to hear from our government accountability office witness about what their work on
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these issues tells us about the path that we must go forward. i look order in to a very productive hearing today and to working alongside my colleagues on the task force and with you, mr. chairman, as we go forward. and again i thank you for holding today's hearing and thank the witnesses for joining us and i yield back. >>the chair now recognize the chairman the full committee the chairman from texas for any statement he may have. >> thank you chairman and ranking member watson coleman. in june, 2000, three of the hie i had jackers flew from european cities to knew yark, international airport and were admitted into the united states. their names area mohamed add de, alshea hee, and zee add gentleman rat. sadly we know the rest of the story. in the years following the 9/11 attacks, the united states government went to great lengths to identify gaps in our vetting systems and in how our agencies
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share intelligence. the department of homeland security was created by the bush administration and congress to help protect america from terrorist by connecting the dots. now we face a new and growing threat to the homeland. in his speech on april the 18th, secretary kelly described us as a nation under attack facing the highest terror threat level in years. due to our brave service men and women, isis and al qaeda have incurred great losses in syria and iraq. yet as territory under their control shrinks, we are seeing an exodus of foreign fighters returning to their home lands, ten thousands of which are in europe. our committee is taking a look at fighters. we pulled together a bipartisan task force to examine the threat posed to the utsds by foreign
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fighters, especially those traveling in and out of europe. through this extensive six-month review, the task force produced more than 50 actionable recommendations to safeguard the homeland and this committee and the house passed legislation to address those recommendations. those which became law include the foreign fighter travel review act which requires the president to review all americans who traveled to iraq and syria to join a foreign terrorist organization and the national strategy to combat terrorist travel act which requires the administration to develop a substantive strategy to combat the threat posed by extremists and prevent them from entering our country undetected. significantly, the visa waiver program improvement and terrorist travel prevention act of 2015 ramped up the security of the visa waiver program by
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improved intelligence information sharing through hspd six agreements and keep terrorists from entering the united states undetected. it also includes major provisions that will make it harder for terror suspects to cross borders, including enhanced counterterrorism screening of travelers and measures to crack down on passport fraud. this new task force will pak up where the last one left off. addressing the readiness of the homeland in light of the foreign fighter exodus. i was pleased to name congressman mike gallagher of wisconsin as the chair of this initiative. as a former combat veteran and middle east expert, i know he will tackle these urgent issues with seriousness and dedication. together with the other seven members of this bipartisan task force. i know that this will be equally
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productive and essential for america's security. i look order in to hearing from our witnesses on the important work performed by the department and the state department to prevent terrorists from gaining access to our homeland. and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman. other members are reminded that opening statements may be submitted tort record. we are honored to be joined by a very sis dissting wished panel of witnesses. we have border immigration and trade at the office of policy, at the department of homeland security, mr. john whacker in department assistant commissioner at u.s. cust tops and border protection, mr. clark settles, assistant director for the national security division and immigration customs enforcement at the department of homeland security, mr. edward ramotowski, department assistant secretary for visa services at the department of state and ms. rebecca gambler department of homeland security and justice
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issues. thank you for being here today. the witnesses's full written statements will appear in the record. the chair recognizes mr. dougherty for a five-minute opening statement. just turn on your mike there. i did that five times in my first week here so don't worry about it. >> thanks. chairman gallagher, ranking member watson coleman and distinguish committee members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today with my dhs state department ngo colleagues. the visa waiver program or the vwp was created by congress in 1980 stoichl allow citizens of qualifying countries to enter the united states for business or pleasure without having to secure a visa but only after necessary security clearances were performed. if addition to promoting and easing travel to the united states, the vwp relieved the department of state from having to interview low-risk applicants from program countries at our consulates over seas.
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they modified it five different times. today the program can properly be viewed not just as means of easing travel to the united states, but as a means to improve our security posture, modern eyesing screening and vetting processes, increasing information sharing within our government and with foreign partners. as the committee is aware, dhs secretary kelly has emphasized that blocking terrorists and criminals from entering the united states is a top priority of our department and we're committed to working closely with congress and our inner agency and foreign partners to protect our homeland. currently, 38 countries are approved to participate in the vwp which allows their nationals to travel to the united states for up to 90 days. travelers are required to complete and online application in advance of travel that is known as the electronic system for travel authorization or s. dot. looking at the efta applications, they perform
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vetting to determine whether the individual is eligible to travel under the vwp or could pose a risk to the united states or the public at large. to participate in the vwp countries must share nchks on terrorists and serious criminals, timely report lost and stolen parse ports, have robust border and security practices and engage in effective traveler and migrant screening. looking at the criteria for lost and stolen passports, for example. >> referee: vwp countries have to report that loss or theft no later than 24 hours after they about become aware of it and vwp countries have contributed over 50 million such records to interpol which accounts for 70% of the interpoll holders. rigor res level of assessments are conducted by the homeland security to ensure they meet the security standards required for continued participation in the program. the bottom line is that to join or to continue in the vwp, a
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country cannot represent a threat to the united states and must be working as a partner to prevent terrorist travel. the committee has contributed to the strength ending of the visa waiver program through its leadership in developing the vwp improvement and terrorist travel prevention act of 2015. i'd like to take a moment to highlight several important changes that have resulted from dhs's implementation of the act. we've increased the sharing of terrorists and criminal identity information, several countries have increased the frequency of their reporting of lost and stolen passports to interpol. several countries agreed to adopt new technology for vetting asylum, refugee and other applications. all vwp countries now are issuing and using for travel to the united states fraud-resistant electronic passports that meet or exceed international standards and dhs has implemented enhanced restrictions on travel under the
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vwp for individuals who have traveled to certain countries of concern since march, 2011, or are dual nationals of particular countries. dhs manages the ongoing statorly monitored requiring proo says to ensure that vwp countries are consistently meeting program requirements. these assessments are performed and consultation with dhs's component agencies, the state department, and other interagency partners as well as the intelligence community and the governments of vwp countries themselves. be assured that the department engages in relevant monitoring of all vwp countries to identify emerging threats and vul neshltsd and to take appropriate action. as secretary kelly recently indicated, we have to ensure the vwp is prepared to counter the threat of foreign fighters returning from the battlefield of syria and aye iraq. under his leadership dhs will continue to look for ways to work with this committee to
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strengthen the security of the program. thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today. i will look ford to answering any of your questions. >> thank you, sir. mr. wagner, you're remembering mized for five minutes. >> thank you. chairman gallagher and ranking member watson coleman and distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to speak today about u.s. cust tons and border protections role in securing international travel. our agency works around the clock to adjudicate u.s. bound travel and we've developed mechanisms to address national security risks and other questions at far in advance of i rifle on u.s. soil as possible. and to provide a soens of scale, last year we expect inspected over 390 million arriving international travelers of which about whun 19 million flew into our airports. that's about 327,000 international air passengers each day and that's just inbound. visitors make up about 50% of these arrival numbers and they generally split into two categories, visa and visa
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waiver. visitors from countries that need a visa go to the u.s. embassy overseas and work with department of state to get a visa. my colleague from the state department will describe that process in more detail in a few minutes. for the visa waiver program travelers, cbp has developed a process 9 known as efta. these trafters must have an improved efta in order to have a plane overseseas. for the first half of this fiscal year, we've approved about 6.9 million esa application and denied over 39,000 in 600. of these denials, about 1,000 and fif 50 were due to concerns. in 2015, cbp took several steps to apply the new restriction who's had traveled to the s&l
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several countries. so far this fiscal here we've denied estas to about 13,000 people due to traffic restrictionsans nearly 3,000 for the dual nationality. once they're issued, cbp conducts continuous vetting against a host of law enforcement and databases to ensure travelers remain elinging aable. if any issues arrive, they may revoke the esta or work with department of state to have the reeza revoked. for the first half of this fiscal year, over 1800 veeszas have been revoked because of this and over 450 of these were due to national security concerns. once the travel's actually booked, cbp conduct predeparture vetting on all international travelers coming to the u.s. by law, airlines provide cbp with advance access to their reservations. we review this data along with crossing information, intelligence reports and law enforcement databases to identify any potential risk
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factors. when risk factors are identified were we've built several mechanisms to address those questions while the traveler is still overseas. preclearance operations, the immigration advisory program in our regional carrier liaison groups. let's start with preclearance. we have 15 preair locations in six countries. this is where uniformed officers have legal authorities to complete the same immigration customs and agriculture inspections of travelers as at a domestic airport. this is our highest level of capability overseas. if found ineligible to travel to the united states at a preclearance location, they have the ability to deny entry on foreign soil. 16 officers processed atd teen.3 million travelers for entry into the united states at our preclearance locations totaling over 15% of our u.s. bound travelers. of this total they permitted 1600 travelers from boarding u.s. bound flights.
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secondlily we have the immigration advisory program and joint security program. we have plainclothes officers at major gateway airports. using advanced information from our national targeting center, iap offices work in participate with the host governments and the airlines to address any national security risks and immigration issues. if any concerns remain after the interview of the passengers, they can issue a no board recommendation to the air carrier and refer the traveler back to the u.s. embassy for more thorough review of their status. last year we recommended over 4,500 no boards to the airlines. now, for foreign locations not covered by prix kpree clearance or the iap officers we have region alley a son groups that work directly with the airlines to issue no board recommendations in cases where there's any national security concerns or any immigration questions. now, once passengers arrive in the united states, all people are inspected by cbp officers. the experience and the intuition
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of each officer is invaluable and this provides the final piece to the prearrival and background checks. they review background documents, collect biometrics if required and interview all travelers to determine the purpose and intent of travel. if there's any questions about their admissibility, agricultural concerns or national security issues, the person's referred into secondary inspection for more thorough examination. so we continually strife to improve our vetting and our intervention initiatives to identify and crows any security vulnerabilities and we remain closely engaged and coordinated with our government parts, foreign governments. thank you again for the opportunity and i look order in to answering any of your questions. >> thank you, mr. wagner. mr. settles, you're recognized for five minutes. >> chairman gallagher, ranking member coleman watson and distinguished committee members, thank you for the funt opportunity to discuss u.s. immigration and kift toms
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enforcement to ebb hance u. visa security and prevent with the terrorists and other criminal actors. veez is security is essential to pro protect the homeland shared by both the department of state and homeland security which includes the afss of homeland security investigation dollars, hsi, and u.s. customs and border protection respect cbp. we strife to uphold our responsibility by confronting dangerous challenges on a global stage with particular focus on those emanating from beyond america's physical borders. i'm honored to highlight our security programs that pro protect the united states against an ever evolving diverse threat. they investigate trance naigs national crime by conducting a wide training of criminal investigation dollars and coordination with our foreign and domestic partnering agencies. targeting the illegal movement of people, merchandise, monetary instruments into, within, and out of the united states. the agency has extremely broad
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authorities and jurisdiction over the investigation of crimes with a nexus to u.s. borders and ports of entry. hsi's three operational priorities are border security, public safety, and national security. in an effort to augment and expand visa security operations, hsi is honored to manage the visa security program and partnership with cbp, the department of state rrts intelligence community, and other dhs agencies and holding. the vsp's primary purpose is to identify terrorists, criminals, and other individuals who pose a threat or are otherwise ineligible for a visa at the earliest possible point in the visa application process there by push the u.s. borders out as far as we possibly can. visa security program operations are currently conducted at 30 visa issuing poeftsds in 25 countries. the visa security program is currently schedule to dpoond two posts in fiscal year 2017 and plans to kpland as resources
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allow every year thereafter. we understand that one of our mochtd important priorities is to protect and detect threats before they reach our nation's borders. to achieve this objective, hsi's international operations also deploy highly trained personnel to 66 offices and 49 countries. the hsi special agents deployed to the 30 visa issuing posts worldwide utilize available and investigative resource, in person interviews, and collaboration between u.s. agencied and foreign counterparts in order to investigate and disrupt the travel of suspect individuals in the visa process. experience has shown the department there's no technological tool available that can substitute for having highly trained and experienced investigators deployed overseas to conduct informed interviews, enhance the nchks we have of terrorists and other criminal networks and share that
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information with our foreign partners. hsa's visa security program is supported by the preadjudicated threat recognition and intelligence operation team patriot. patriot is an inner agency endeavor with cbp's targeting system. through patriot system, csp conducts screening against dh holdings as well as other holdings of u.s. agencies prior tho their interview and adjudication. derogatory information discovered durg automated screening is manually vetted by domestic patriot personnel in the national capital region utilizing law enforcement, open source, and classified systems. patriot analysts then provide deployed vsp personnel with the most enhanced information available well in advance of the visa applicants in-person interview. following this enhanced anol analysis of all known information, collaboration with foreign government partners and
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porpgs in the in-person applicant interview, they provide a unified dhs recommendation on visa eligibility to the department of state. in fy 2016, they facilitated the screening and vetting of more than 2.2 visa applicants, recommended the refusal of 85,000 visas and submitted 1,669 watch-list nominations for counterterrorism reasons. we also facilitated the legitimate trade of 442 visa applicants. honored members, if i may, i would like to recognize this month we celebrate police week, a time to honor all law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. to include a fellow hsi brother special agent jarmmy scott mcguire who lost his life in the line of duty last year and whose name we will be honoring and adding to the national law enforcement officers memorial. >> i just want to say rest in
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peace, scott. thank you for your opportunity to appear before you today and for your continued support of our law enforcement mission. i would be pleased to answer any questions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. settles. mr. ramotowski, am i saying that right? >> that's absolutely right, ramotowski. >> i apologize if i butchered that before. >> thank you chairman gallagher, ranking member watson coleman. i'm pleased to assure that you the department of state takes our commitment to protect america's borders and citizens very seriously. toward this end, we constantly analyze and update our screening and clearance procedures. mr. chairman, the u.s. visa system is a layered interagency effort focused first and foremost on national security. beginning with a petition to dhs or a visa application system abroad, during the interview, prior to travel, upon arrival in
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the united states and while the traveler is in the united states, the department of state works together with our national law enforcement and intelligence partners to protect our borders. the vast majority of visa applicants and all immigrant visa applicants are interviewed in person by a counselor officer. each counselor officer completes an extensive training program which has a strong imfa sis on border security, fraud prevention, inner agency coordination, and interviewing techniques. in addition to that, 122 assistant regional security officer investigators at 107 diplomatic posts worldwide work with counselor officers to bring additional law enforcement and antiterrorism expertise to the visa process. all visa applicants are vetted against databases which contain millions of records of individuals found ineligible for visas in the past or regarding
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whom potentially derogatory information exists on terrorists, criminal, or other grounds. ten fingerprint scans from nearly all -- against the dhs and fbi database of known and suspected terrorists, wanted persons, immigration law violators, and criminals. our screen against -- races
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any -- example aggregation and customs assigned to 29 embassies and consul lates in high-threat locations provide on-site vetting that these applications as well as other law enforcement support and training of consulate officers. but security does not stop when the visa is issued. the department and partner agencies continuously match new threat information with our records of existing vooesz visas and we use our authority to revoke those visas when warranted. we review more than 2 million visa applications each year. and since 2001, the department has revoked more than 160,000 visas based on information that surfaced after the issuance of the visa. this includes nearly 11,000 visas potentially revoked after information emerged suggesting possible tloinkz terrorism. notice of these revocations are shared across the inner agencies
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in near realtime. executive order 13780 and protecting the nations from terrorist attacks from foreign nationals signed by the president on march 26, 2017, articulate the administration's commitment to group grade and design our vetting processes to keep this country safe. these actions range from inner agency efforts to standardize -- programs to focusing on ways to improve our ability to deport criminals. additionally, the department recently instructed hosts world ride to deputy criteria for deputying sets of either applicants publicdation.
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we appreciate the support of congress as we constantly work to strengthen our system. i would encourage you to -- travelers seeking to come to the united states. each year millions of visitors illegally enter the united states. some of them enter with a nonimmigrant visa while others enter the country with a visa waiver program. under this program nationals have 38 countries can apply for admission to the united states as temporary visitors for business or pleasure for up to
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90 days without obtain a visa. gao has a body of work addressing dhs and other agency's efforts to screen travelers -- and the the visa waiver program. my remarks today are -- related to these programs -- first with
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regards to at these locations expect travelers and make trends prior to an individual boarding a plane to the united states. under the immigration advisory and joint security programs, cbp officers posteda at foreign arptsz partner with air carriers and government officials to help prevent terrorists and other high-risk individuals from boarding u.s. bound flights. regional carrier lee say son groups are located and operate at domestic airports and among other things assist air carriers with questions regarding u.s. admissibility requirements and travel documents. cbp data indicated that in fiscal year 2015 conducted approximately 2,000 high risk air travelers. while we found cbp has data and statistics on these program they have not evaluated the effectiveness of these programs as a whole including whether to
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assess whether the programs are achieving their stated goals. -- develop and implement such measures and base lines to better measure the effectiveness of this predeparture programs and dhs concurred. second, with regard to the security program, we reported on efforts to expand the program and address challenges in its operations. this program ice deemploys personnel to certain u.s. embassies and contull sul lates to assist the department of states cons letter officers with security reviews of visa applications among other things. in our 2011 report on this program, we identified various management and oversight challenges such as limited guidance regarding interactions between ice officials and cons lor officers. performance measures to accurately evaluate the program and variation from post to post in the training of counselor officers by ice agtsz. we also found that ice did not track information on the time
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ice acts spent on nonveesza security program activities. -- work reviewing the visa security program more broadly and we pran to report on the results of our work tlart year. third, with regard to the visa waiver program we reported on dhs's oversight the program. in particular we reported that all 38 countries had entered into three requirements under the program to one report lost and stolen parse ports, two, share ielt information about known or suspected terrorists and three share criminal history information. however, not all countries-shared such information. in august, 2015, dhs established a new requirement for visa waiver program countries to implement -- agreements. dhs did not establish time frames for instituting these requirements. we recommended that dhs specify time frames for working with participating countries to address additional program
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requirements including the requirement to fully implement these agreements and dhs concurred with our recommendation. in close rg are our work on dhs's efforts to screen travelers and manage the visa security program and the visa waiver program has identified findings and recommendations to help strengthening management and oversight of these programs and efforts. dhs has actions planned or under way to address a number of our recommendations and we will continue to monitor dhs's efforts. this concludes my oral statement and i'm pleased to answer any questions members have. >> thank you so much ms. gam letter. girs going off one of the last points you made, mr. dougherty, would you agree with the assessment that one-third of countries are not in compliance with their obligations and what happens when dhs discovers a country to be in noncompliance or lacking in full implae mentation of their obligations?
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>> dhs in the last gao report had agreed with recommendations the gao had made on the remarks made here, our point at this point in time is that the countries that are in the visa waiver program are in compliance. there are many ways that dhs can engage those program countries to get further compliance. we engage them in many ways. our assessments are ordinarily take place by going to those countries and looking for them to make enhancements that we know that they can make. so the department is very interested in making sure that all countries are current and that is our position right now is that the countries within the visa waiver program are compliant with dha 86 and the other agreement -- >> are those reviews conducted? >> ordinarily they're every two years but -- quite up to speed we can accelerate that and engage in more dialogue with
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them. >> and is that if you find some that's not up to speed or noun noncompliant, is there a formal process for addressing that or is it more an informal, hey, this is a problem? >> well. >> do something about it? >> i think technically, yeah, right. we are engaged at various levels in different governments from the top down over to law enforcement. so we can -- we can have an informal communication with them, we can also demarch them if we wish. so i think the process would come through dhs headquarters eventually if things were getting serious in that we would have to tell them we're getting to a point where we need to engage in some type of activity such as shortening the period of time in this the nationals can come to the united states in order to get compliance from those countries. >> thank you. and ms. gambler just so i understand, is it gao's position that dhs is not meeting the timeline for compliance review?
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and if so what are the obstacles to adhering to that timeline? >> in the report that we issued last year as well as in prefs reports on the visa waiver program we did find that dhs was not consistently submitting to congress those two-year reports within a timely fashion and so we have made recommendations to the department to take steps to ensure that those reports are submitted in a timely way. and based on our work following up on those recommendations, dhs is taking steps to address that -- at this point. >> thank you. mr. ramotowski, your written testimony states that the vast majority of visa applicants are interviewed by a counselor officer. who wouldn't be? who would not be included in that vast majority? how does that process work? >> under the ina there are some statutory exemptions which include -- officials, children under the age of 14, and
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individuals over the age of 79, and individuals renewing a visa that has expired less than 12 months previously. but even with those exceptions, if there is any kind of an indication in our screening and vetting process that that applicant might present a threat, we can and do conduct interviewers. >> and just when it comes to the screening and vetting process, give me a sense of the overall -- you're assessment of the overall workload of your kons consulate officers who we're asking to do a very important job and what sort of training do they get in the questioning process? is it just a checklist or what does that look like? >> well, in terms of workload, we handle about 14 million visa cases of all types each year, refusing over 2 million and issuing about 11.5 million.
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and the volume varies, of course, by country, by region, and we limit our officers to 120 interviews per day. the training that they get begins when they first join the doept of state. they take the basic consulate officers training course at our training center out in arlington and they're trained in the immigration law, interviewing techniques, and law enforcement officers from various partner agencies speak to these groups and have helped us develop our training materials. they are trained in the culture language of the country and region to which they're going, and once they have arrived at their embassy or consulate duty station, they continue to get in-service training. most of our posts have a fraud prevention unit that is focused exclusively on detecting and deterring and defeating fraud of all types, criminal activity,
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and the personnel in that unit work with the line officers who are conducting the interviews to ensure that the line officers are aware of any recent scams, any fraud trends, things of that sort. and as officers progress through their careers, they will get enhanced mid-level training, management training, leadership training and so forth. so it's a comprehensive process. >> thank you. win hundred 20 seems like a lot as a former military interrogator we're asking them to do a lot. the chair now recognize the ranking member ms. watson coleman for questions. >> thank you mr. chairman. first of all i'd like to ask consent that the gentleman from massachusetts. -- what are happened to the gentleman from massachusetts? be allowed to sit and question the witnesses as well. >> without objection. >> secondly i'd like to yield my time at this moment to
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ms. barragan who has a time issue. >> you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. i represent the los angeles port which is how we like to call it it's one of the large e69 ports and i had a chance to visit with cbp down at the port and to see whoa they do, the work that they do is so excellent on making sure to secure our ports. according to staffing numbers in march, cbp was almost 1400 officers short of its staffing target and likely thousands of officers below what your staffing model would indicate is optimal for security and facilitation at our ports of ebttry. while the men and women of cbp's office are doing their best under the circumstances, at some point security and facilitation suffer. attrition is a problem and hiring is slow. meanwhile, the president has proposed hiring 5,000 additional border patrol agents but zero new cbp officers for our nation's ports of entry. what needs to be done to address
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cbp's staffing needs for ports of entry? >> so you're correct we're still about 1400 officers short. we still have not fulfilled the -- the original 2,000 that congress provided to us about three years ago now. thankfully our attrition is fairly low, we're at about 3.4% per year in the cbp officer ranks, about 750 to 800 officers per year. but you're correct, the hiring has been slow. we're barely keeping pace with the attrition right now, so i know we continue to go through the entire hiring process from the written exam to the polygraph to some of the other requirements. and look at where people are failing out of the process and how do we do a better shop at recruiting and how did we get right people into this occupation and will take the jobs where we need them. so we're having a pretty
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extensive review of that with our office of human resources and looking at ways to shorten the process and get better applicants in. and then look at, you know, like we can do with the military and veterans that are coming out of service and how do we -- how do we make it a lot easier for them to take these occupations. as far as additional officers, you know, we annually submit a workload staffing model report which are arctic lates our needs, it's all based on the workload, the data, how long it takes to perform each naungs we have at the ports of entry and you're correct the numbers are still a couple thousand in that but we submit that report annually to the hill. so in the meantime, we look at balancing those vacancies with the use fs overtime and the use of technology to help us do that. so we are not vulnerable and we do close those security gaps. >> thank you. mr. ramotowski, reuters has reported that secretary tillerson has sent a series of
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internal cables, four in total, to consul lates and embassies abroad instructing them of new measures to increase vetting of visa applicants. in these cables about vetting. they have asked them to identify population risk that warrant increased scrutiny and immember tougher screening procedures for this particular group of people. applicants who fall into one of the identifiable population groups will be subjected to a higher level of security screening. have you worked to develop a uniform system for identifying populations who pose a security threat? >> we are actually engaged in that process now with our partner agencies, some of which are represented here and others that are not, to do exactly that. you know, the department of state works with and tries to
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take a whole of government approach to analyzing and detecting potential threats against our country. so we are in the process of doing that. the secretary did direct embassies and consulates to begin that process, to focus on areas that, and groups that might present a higher degree of risk and to ensure that those groups get effective screening. >> are we doing something to make sure it's a uniform process, that there's a uniform standard? >> yes, there's definitely a uniform standard, foundational base to our vetting process, which i outlined in my initial comments. every visa applicant, or most visa applicants give electronic finger prints. every visa applicant is checked through our facial recognition system. through a series of sophisticated, buy graphic name checks. >> if i could quickly interrupt, because i have a pew seconds.
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my understanding is that the instruction was to identify groups that could be higher risk. so my question is more of like how do you identify those populations having a uniform standard? >> well, the degree of risk is going to vary with each tech region and country, and that's why we're asking our folks in the field to meet with other agency counterparts to identify potential groups that present a higher risk. certain regions, certain areas, certainly do present a higher risk than others, for example to respond back to the claihairman question regarding 120 interviews. that's a maximum. we will take all the time we need to drill down and get to the bottom of an individual case in order to assure ourselves that that applicant does not present a threat. so that's what we're trying to do to identify and focus our
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resources on areas that present a greater risk. >> all right. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. the claire nhair now recognizes gentleman from new york for five questions. >> thank you, i do want to commend you and the others on this task force. what you're looking into is critical to the security of our country and recognizing the diffusion of isis from the syria and iraq area to metastasizing to other areas of the world. it's clear they want to infiltrate the west and get into the united states, and these things you are looking into are very important to help keep our country secure. so i thank you for that. and i thank the whole panel for what you do to try to keep our country safe and secure, and appreciate that very much. mr. wagner, i was traveled, not by anything you said, but the statistics you talked about.
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and that being that you're still by 1400 from the authorization you had. the and i kn and i know you touched on it briefly, but if you could expound on what you're finding as the reasons for the delays and what we can do to expedite that process. >> the numbers are about 1,000 from the original 2,000. and due to some of our reimbursable agreements that we've entered into, that number is bumped up a little bit. so it's a total of about 1400 officers from appropriations. so we try to balance that and balance that in places where we can absorb that under staffing, using overtime and other means to do that. what this also means is sometimes we have to say no to additional requests for service. we're getting a lot of requests for service. a lot of airports, land border
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locations asking us to process more flights and more people, so we try to find creative ways really to be able to do that. now the process itself, we've made some progress in shortening the length of time it takes to hire people. we've done some work, what we call consolidated hiring where we've ruled some of those procedures together, working closely with military to do this. but still, when we look at the different steps in the process and, you know, for people that apply for the job, you know, about half of them don't even bother to show up for the written exam. only about 38% of the people pass the written exam. and the other steps in the process, the interview, the medical screen, the physical fitness screening. you look at the polygraph, knocks out a lot of people. and we have some exemptions to that i understand. >> so base clirks tically the p have set up weeds out a ton of
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the sne the people? >> they're great jobs, and we want to be able to put the right people in them. of course also without reducing our criteria for doing so, which will hurt us down the road to do that teparticular job. it's very strict. but they're very good federal jobs. so we just have to find the right people that are willing to take them in the locations where we have those vacancies. most of those are on the southwest border. >> thank you. mr. suttles, i'm going to switch gears a little bit. we spoke about the use of biometrics and the enforcement of our laws and keeping our country safe from an immigration standpoint as well. can you talk about some of the advances that have taken place with respect to biometrics and any problems you see in gaining biometric data from various agencies in the pursuit of the visa waiver program? >> i can talk about that generally. if it's okay, i'd like to make a
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correction to the record. in my statement, i added a zero to a number. i actually meant to say 8,599 recommended refusals from our vsp post, not 85,000, i just wanted to correct that for the record. ihsi doesn't play as much of a role. we're more of a consumer. we do have a program that is under way that we're working with d.o.d. that i would have to share in a more classified setting. >> i understand. >> of which we would love to. but i'd probably yield to my other esteemed colleagues here at state department and cdp to talk a little more about the biometric side of it. >> would someone like to take that? >> thank you, the department of state shares all the information we collect through the visa process with our interagency partners and that includes the electronically provided finger
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prints which goes into the ident database. we send the fingerprints for screening throughout fbi's criminal fingerprint database and it other agencies as well. other biometrics include the photographs, and that's run against our facial recognition system which includes among other things, beyond 60,000 terrorist photographs that have been collected by intelligence community. and if there's a facial recognition match, that would of course signal the cops or officer to halt action on that case. so we continue to share all of our data and to develop our capabilities even further. >> thank you. i'm out of time. i want to thank the chairman for letting me ask questions. i have to run to another meeting, but i encourage all of you in this space to look at the
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advances being made in the biometric field and make sure you apply them to the front lines. to the extent you need help, let us know, we'll be there for you. thank you very much. i yield back. >> the chairman recognizes ms. jackson lee for five questions. >> thank the chair very much. thank the witnesses for their testimony. i'm going to pursue a line of questioning, first of all, let me say that the task force is asking a very important question and i hope we can work on these matters in a bipartisan manner and work on other issues that yes, ma'am pack the security of all americans. i do want to indicate that we do have on this committee great respect for all of the personnel
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that are in the service of our country for domestic and national security. i think sometimes policies cause our very dedicated staff persons to really have to perform in a way that is inconsistent with our values of democracy and justice and fatherneirness to a. let me say to mr. suttles, my sympathy for the loss of your agent. we have worked together for a number of years, mr. wagner, and i thank you for your service. you remember the muslim banan the rush in which it came before the court order the, and everyone was scrambling, and many members of congress were trying to help their constituents and the awkwardness of what had been normally good relationships was evident. and so i hope that going
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forward, i hope we don't have that order in place, but going forward, that those dispatched in local offices can recognize that we are on their team, seeking information. i had a 16-year-old jordanian statused young man traveling on his own being held and his family couldn't see him, and he was shipped off to chicago, and he lived in houston, texas. so anyhow, what i wanted to ask was the question of reports that we received on the implementing. what guidance does cdp issue to cdpo's operating at the ports of entry regarding implementation of the travel ban.
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what is the state of the travel ban with respect to your officers throughout the country? >> i believe they're subject to lit kwags, and, you know, we're following what the court orders, so we've put that information out to the front line personnel to comply with all the court's instructions. >> meaning that there's no travel ban, there's no muslim ban. you're not operating under a muslim ban right now. >> no, we are not. >> let me further ask, and i know that we're in an open setting. i had a bill dealing with foreign fighters. what can you tell me about your procedures for individuals who come through a visa waiver program, excuse me, country, and may have fought in, going to the caliphate to fight and are now coming through visa waiver program or may come through a visa waiver program. what procedures are your officers using with respect to that population? >> so a couple different ways.
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first is the granting of the esta approval to even travel. they have to fill out an online application with us, including their place of birth, all of their passport information. we run that through a series of law enforcement databases and balance that against certain data fields against the intelligence community. >> would that prevent them from getting travel documents? >> that would prevent them from traveling under the visa waiver program if there are any concerns there. once they book their travel, we look at the airline reservation data. we look at what their trip contests of, we look at all the different parts and data pieces within that reservation as well as the manifest details. we run that through a series of what we call rule sets, and we take all of that reservation data and take intelligence reports and translate that into rules. so give me all of these passports from this country with males between these ages,
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traveling from this country or this route, and we start with a list and further cull it down on the basis of that and narrow it down to people we need to talk to or question about things or we link it against known pieces of information. so, again, in conjunction with the law enforcement and intelligence community, known pieces of information that we can keconnect the person to, mo than likely would deny their travel under that program or cause them to go through additional scrutiny or inspections either overseas or when they arrive. >> i have a quick question, thank you so much. i just want to know, you're sitting on the panel with the implementers of the rules of security. what is the gao's perception of the visa waiver program, and do you think it's structured enough? or is there more that we need to do? >> based on our work looking at not just the visa waiver program but some of the other programs that we've talked about today, i
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think we've seen progress and implementation. one of the key areas that we have talked about that i mentioned in my oral statement is the need for dhs and cdp to develop metrics and baselines to really help them assess the effectiveness of some of these programs, so that is a key recommendation that we've made to dhs related to their screening and predeparture ever ors that we believe is important to implement going forward. >> let me thank you for your indulgence. and to all of the witnesses. >> thank you for your service to the nation. i yield back. >> the chair now recognizes sheriff now congressman rutherford. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to start off, first of all, by thanking all of you for your great service. as, as i've had an opportunity to travel around the country and
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observe some of your agents and employees in action, it's been refreshing. and so i thank you for that. you have a lot of dedicated members out there. i want to touch base with something that mr. suttles said about the, you corrected the number, the 8500 inadmissions. now jao reports it that we identified 22,000 high-risk travelers in 2015. and so these 85, were they in that 22,000 i presume? >> yes, these are the numbers for the 30 visa issuing posts we have in 25 countries that we've strategically placed. >> so that only includes the vsu folks, right? >> that is the vsu, the sivisa
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security program. and so that's for those 30 posts. >> okay. and so about, does that mean about half of these or a little more than half are being, determined to be high risk, but they're allowed to come in. is that a correct assessment or no? >> no, because the number starts at about 2.2 million for those 30 posts, and we whittle it down and have derogatory information on about 74,000 and then utilizing automated vetting as i talked about yesterday in a classified setting, what i can say is the information is as good as what's in there. >> right. >> and i think like i mentioned, director comey said you can vet until the cows come home, but if the information isn't in the system -- so we implement that and analyze it in the u.s. whether we have droog tory hits and send it to our agents over there that are solely there to do that cop-to-cop, foreign
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liaison partnership and also to increase the information so we have more in the system for the future. so that 85 hahn 00 is part of t process. and then from there we go down to where we watch listed 1,169. >> okay. and i know that mr. wagner, the cdp is, in fact, following up on the gao's recommendation about the baselines and can you talk a little bit about where you're at on those measures? i'm curious, of the, of the 8500, particularly, or any of them, do we know of any that have actually been subject to the visa security program and then allowed in and committed a terrorist act here or not
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allowed in and committed a terrorist act in france or germany or somewhere else? >> so i don't have specific information like that. as a matter of fact i don't know of an incidence, but what i can tell you is of the ones that we watch listed, you know, obviously, they didn't come into the country. >> right. >> whether or not, it's keentd of complicated with reporting as far as whether our foreign partners would have sheared that wi -- shared with us. and i did provide in a classified setting a pretty good example, i think, of what happens avenue time happens every time. we kind of went through that process yesterday. >> and thank you for that as well. the visa security program has been, i think, incredibly successful in providing an increase in information and recommendations to the consular offices regarding visa
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applications. can you talk a little bit, mr. suttles about how the ice atta k attaches. >> so in the 66 posts, and 49 countries, you know, our agents are there to do a lot more than just the visa security program. they're there to help with transnational criminal networks, you know, the kind of broader perspective of what homeland security investigation does. it's more of on a request from state department and the consular's affairs officer. if they see something during their routine process in the vetting, they come over to us and ask for our help. and, you know, that's kind of the difference. we provide training and any recent trends or intel we have. but it's more on a case by case
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instead of it being like a full-time responsibility of the agent. >> okay. listen, again, i think all of my time's run out. but i really appreciate all of your service to our country. god bless. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, the chair recognizes ms. watson. >> thank you. i want to thank you for each one of you what you represent and who you represent here, and it seems collectively we're doing a heck of a job and interacting with one another. just like mr. wagner was asked, did he need more help on the cdp. do you have greater requests and you're able to address with the things that you're doing in the foreign countries? >> yes, ma'am. with more. >> we just need to know that. >> and we have an aggressive, we're doing as much as we can aggressively with the resources we have. >> at some point, we'd like to
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have some information specifically about what additional things, resources, whatever, staff that you need to do what you're doing, i think what you're doing is very important. as i believe every one of you are doing important things. last month, the secretary kelly stated that we needed to look very hard at the visa waiver program. do you know what he meant by that, mr. doherty. and has the dhs begun a review of the bwp and what security enhancements are being securitied? >> thank you. secretary kelly. when he was making remarks about taking a hard look at the bwp was basically reiterating the concern that we all have, that foreign fighters may be coming out of the lavaunt, and those people are europeans. they have european citizenship. so secretary kelly's intention
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and the intention of i think everyone represented by dhs here is to look at additional things that the department can do to make visa-free travel to the united states more secure than it is now. >> can you discuss what kind of additional things you are doing? what kind of enhancements, security enhancements are under consideration in this setting? >> i would like to have that conversation with you offline, if we could, and i think it is a dialog. i know the commit see very confersant on opportunities that the department can take. we have some of our own. but i think we're at a point, ma'am, where we're looking at several things, and we prefer to discuss that in a different setting. >> one question to mr. wagner. since the attacks of 9/11 and the attempted attack on it 253
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in 2009. visa processes have been completely revamped and strensenned, obviously. and it includes screening against all kind of government holdings, biometrics, capture and interview. tell me how can their individualized threat assessment be strengthened, and what do you need from us to support your efforts? >> yes. the underquawear bomber, that w the impetus for our predeparture program. we looked at the opportunities we missed. you know, we had officers overseas at the airport that that guy had come through. we weren't netcessarily focusse on that type of threat, so we adjusted that. we put the whole predeparture
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process into place with a very strong focus on, besides the immigration issues, the national security focus, and really to err on the side of caution, and if there's any concerns about an individual, we ask the airline not to fly them and refer them back to the u.s. embassy, where across government we have more time to assess this person and look at them. and that was really the genesis of that program. as far as just, i think we look for support in, you know, what we request in our appropriations requests as far as the capabilities at our national targeting center and the systems we build to continue to conduct the analysis and the vetting of this information across government against as many sources as we can to make sure we're not missing any gaps hand that we don't have to wait for another incident to determine what wasn't available at that
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time to prevent that person from moving into the next step of the process. we've been focussed on it since then, and we've really built a strong capability with the national security focus ever since that. that was a close call. [ inaudible ] >> i think we've put it in the appropriations request, and there is money for a national targeting center to support, and congress has been very generous and supportive of us building out an entirely new facility in northern virginia. we had two national targeting centers. we've consolidated them into one location, the police invite any of you to come out and see the work that goes on there and the partnerships across government that we've established. >> the chair recognizes mr. fitzpatrick for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and you want to echo my colleagues and thank you all for your service. i come here via the fbi. so i consider you all family, needless to say. and you've got a very tough job
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keeping us all safe, but we thank you for doing it. i just want to explore for one second, the hypothetical of terminating the visa waiver program. obviously, the world in 2017 is much different than it was back in 1986 when that law was implemented, and obviously, all those countries are very different as well. there are, obviously, a lot of bad people that live in many of those, if not all those 38 countries, as chairman mccall stated in his opening statement. several of the 9/11 hijackers came in via europe with no vetting whatsoever. hypothetically, if that program were to terminate, would dhs have the band witte and capacity to deal with that new world if we were ever at that point where we needed to go there? >> i would really defer to -- >> if they terminated the
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program, then presumably, all of those travelers would have to apply for a visa. so it's really our bandwidth. and certainly in europe, the capacity to handle 18 million visa applications a year when globally right now we doing 14 million just isn't there, and would take quite a bit of team and resources to ramp up, to be able to handle that case load. if the entire program was suddenly eliminated. >> what would you see that looking like? kn numerically. could the embassies handle it? or are we at the point now where it wouldn't even be possible? >> it wouldn't be possible with the current physical plant and staffing that we have, it wouldn't be possible, not in any length of time. >> so we've grown dependent on that visa waiver program essentially.
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>> well, when the program started in the mid-1980s, it has since been reallocated, both real estate and officer positions to other countries where the visa demand was greater. we didn't just keep officers in europe with nothing to do. >> okay. >> the volume's about 19.5 million travelers last year. under the visa waiver program. the volume's substantial, but if you look at comparison of the visa versus visa waiver programs, both programs collect simil similar biographical information. the big distinction is that time when the traveler meets with the u.s. government official. and for a traveler with a visa, they meet with a consular officer to geoff their fingerprints, have their photo
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taken and be interviewed at the u.s. embassy while still overseas. the visa waiver program, we allow that traveler after that prescreening that their first interaction with the u.s. would be a cdp officer at the point of entry where they'd get interviewed, collect the same firng prints and have the same photo taken. it's really whether you allow that person to get on the plane to travel here to collect the same kind of information and go through a similar type of interview. the background checks and the bog raf cal data that serves as a platform for the two are fairly similar. so it's also looking at it from asylum claims and some of the admissibility issues is do you, do you allow the risk of the person getting on the plane to do the same level of information once they get here or do you do it overseas? and that's the biggest distinction between the two. >> i would also add that the
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information sharing that is so important to lists about threats from these countries might be endangered also if the program were to be suddenly terminated. because a number of our partner countries use their partnership in the visa waiver program to use enhanced information sharing with the united states that benefits both sides. so that's a factor to consider as well. >> is it fair to say, though, that the visa waiver program presupposes that we have confidence and faith in the security protocol of these other countries, and if so, is that warranted today? >> sir, if i could answer that, i think it's probably as strong as it's ever been. the assessments performed by the department of homeland secure are very granular. so we look at for example how do you train your people? do you have a legal system that we would recognize as putting criminals away or terrorists away? do you have security processes that we recognize as essential
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to making sure that you don't have a lawless population or a group of terrorists in your midst who then could become part of the visa waiver program. i haven't physically sat done and counted everything that we consider in an assessment, but there is a significant -- >> the chair recognizes mr. higgins. >> deputy commissioner. thank you for your service. i see a mourning band on your badge, how long have you been on the badge, sir? >> 25 years. >> in 25 years, have you managed to be able to recognize a damn good cop when you see one and when you interview one? >> absolutely.
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>> the applicants that try to come to work for your agency, are not many of them experienced and recognize decorated officers from agencies? >> yes, some of them are. >> and what's failure rate on the psych eval for those deputies and officers? >> i don't know. >> your best guesstimate. >> no visibility into that, sir. >> i'm getting at the 1400 agents that you need. and that there's a, there seems to be a built-in resistance in the system. by my own experience, i've recognized as a policer for 1 h14 years. sometimes officers choose to advance their career and go to another department, and they can't pass the psych eval and the polygraph.
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it's a rather bizarre circumstance. and tell this committee. are you running into that? >> well, there's no psychological exam for cdp. the polygraph, a very high failure rate for that. >> what would you say the failure rate is? [ inaudible ] >> when highly decorated officers apply at federal agencies and can't get hired, when the ranking officers that are interviewing them, sometimes know that they're turning away a damn good cop for that job. deputy secretary, we have a, it seems to me there's a tendency
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in our nation and perhaps the world to give a certain pedigree to a visa. that visa comes with it a certain expectation of that that individual has been properly vetted and cleared and what not. i'd like to address that for a moment. the beginning process of applying for a visa, the person applying for that visa has to present what's referred to as proper scertificates to proper government authorities like birth certificates and marriage licenses, is that correct? >> depending on the type of visa, yes, that's correct. >> and those documents are frequently coming from, you know, we're familiar with certain levels of security measures on our own identifications here in america, watermarks, bar codes, magnetic scans, et cetera.
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but a birth certificate and a marriage license coming from a rural area in some of these nations that citizens are seeking access to our country, given the very advanced state of, of the ability to forge documents, it would seem to me that that would be a very weak link in the chain, and that's where the chain begins, that these documents are presented from some rural community. i mean, i've arrested men with many excellent ids, driver's licenses, american driver's licenses that would pass muster that any cop would look at and say that's a real driver's license, and the whole thing's fake, the only thing real on it is his picture. and if that can happen with an american driver's license, what are they doing with, with
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marriage licenses and birth certificates at these, in this vetting procedure? >> you're quite right, sir, and that's why we never depend exclusively on the documents for granting an immigration benefit, because in many countries, they could be and are fraudulent. we have fraud-prevention offices at all of our large and medium-sized embassies and even at the smaller ones. an officer is always designated as the fraud detection expert, and they are focussed on reviewing and investigating any suspicious documents. our officers have a network of contacts throughout the country, with civil registrars, government passport offices, courthouses and so forth to verify documents whethn necessa, and also the value of the consular interview is ascertaining whether the applicant matches the documents he's presenting. does the story make sense?
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if a marriage is claimed but the two parties don't know anything about each other, then there's maybe a problem there. >> sir, in the interest of time, mr. chairman, i have further questions, i'll submit in writing and i yield back. >> thank you. we now have to go vote, as one does in congress from time to time. i want to thank the witnesses for their time and for their testimony both yesterday and today. this was a great way to start the work of the task force with serious, thoughtful conversation. i want to thank the members of the task force on both sides of the aisle for being here, for being thoughtful. i'm very excited about where this is headed. we have an incredible, incredible range of experiences, local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, military, and my hope is that we're able to harness that and come up with recommendations that are serious, smart, and will make the homeland more secure and for waking up every day in pursuit
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of that noble objective. and i can't think of an objective more noble than that, i want to thank each and every one of you. with that, pursuant to committee hearing rule 7d, the task force stands adjourned.
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c-span's washington journal, live every day with flus anews policy issues that impact you. maryann levine discusses the april jobs report, then david shepardson will talk about the fcc's attempt to roll back net neutrality protections. and james antle discusses president trump's religious liberty executive order. watch washington journal, live saturday morning at 7:00 a.m. join the discussion. c-span, where history
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unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your local cable or satellite provider. the supreme court is considering a case of an immigrant from bosnia who was stripped of citizenship during the process. they argued that the lie was not relevant and should not invalidate letter u. invalidate her u.s. citizenship. here's oral argument in the case. it's an hour. >> we'll hear argument next in case 16309, masljenak versus the united states. >> thank you, the federal criminal code authorizes the government to strip a naturalized american of citizenship if it was procured contrary to law.

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